Quite why it’s taken so long for any other channel to start a program similar to channel 5’s “Gadget Show” is anyone’s guess. This week saw the launch of Gadget Geeks aiming to help consumers with gadgets and a few challenges along the way. Here’s our, admittedly late, recap of Gadget Geeks S01 E01.
Show opens up with a more subtle intro than that of it’s main competitor, less noise and perhaps gaudiness which can be a little bombarding on the Gadget Show. Here we go with a quick meet the team.
The reviewers are
From left to right, Emma Barnett, Rory Reid & Ian Morris helping consumers pick the gadgets for their needs via round up tests.
Those charged with making gadgets better or creating one that doesn’t exist are Charles Yarnold, Tom Scot and Colin Furze.
That’s the niceties all over and done with so wasting no time, Gadget Geeks get’s on with the challenges
Challenge number 1
Underwater camera for Ibiza Rep
Ibiza holiday rep needs a camera that works under water. Some might argue that sun and sand might be the furthest thing away from our minds right now during a gloomy winter season but that’s scheduling.
The team decided to do waterproof camera test in Ibiza. As with all challenges, a round up of the products in question are shown voiced over by someone who seems to skirt on the boundaries of boredom to not being interested in whats going on at all. A feeling of “bought in at the last moment” however this is the first show so things can only get better.
The test itself to start with seems fair enough, putting them in real world situations like dropping them in a pool, taking video and pictures underwater. Having been surfing and trying out a camera in similar conditions the tests were representative of typical usage. 6 minutes into the show I’m really liking the showing of the video results from the cameras underwater for more than a breif 10 seconds. Different lighting settings are also tested and then shown with a real focus on the output. Much better than a customary quick glance at the end of the review.
Group Test Winner : Panasonic
Create a portable rig to capture Matrix style bullet time effects.Free running bullet time challenge.
The matrix made this famous but, as we all know, May Payne games bought it into the main stream before then and this challenge is to create a relatively inexpensive yet portable setup to capture bullet time moments.
Cue the building montage. A rig is constructed with 24 cameras along something akin to a small railway track. Once the pictures have been taken the end result is more than a little rough yet with a touch of stabilization and the results are impressive. So it’s not quite up to mega bucks camera equipment yet the idea works really well.
Another enjoyable segment which again comes across with a feeling of being more involved with the building and testing process rather than the voice over guy outside the building saying “we worked into the night etc”
Ad break Teaser
Take an electric toothbrush, double sided tape and what do you get? A small sander, well when you add some sandpaper. Hackalicious?!?
Champions of Sky One HD “Got to Dance” portable speaker challenge.
Nice bit of back plugging for the Sky One HD “Got to Dance” show but not overly so that the narrative of the piece is compromised. Cue every shoppers worst scenario, testing ghetto blasters (ok, speakers) in the middle of a shopping mall for clarity. This test is just about plausible I suppose, the next test fares better.
The portability section of the challenge. A mock course is laid out including stairs, taxis and turnstiles. It;s nice to see some representative testing of what might happen in the real world. Hopefully this will be a reoccurring theme throughout the rest of the series.
Part of this test was the distance at which a speaker could be heard which brought up some flawed testing in my opinion. A simple test, one person is stationary and the other walks a set path away from the start, whilst all the time listening out for the music. Once you cant hear the music, the distance is noted and repeat.
Simple enough but some of the speakers were either facing forward, away from the stationary person, or to the side, again away not in direct line with the person listening. Take a look at the picture below.
I’m no sound engineer, as you can see by my Samson Microphone and Tascam Im2 reviews, yet even I know sound from those sort of speakers goes forward, not behind. Hopefully this was an oversight and doesn’t become a flawed series of testing in a mythbusters style.)
The eventual winners were..
Sinclair C5 Gadget Upgrade
Over to the geeks now to put a modern take on the Sinclair C5, makeover time. Take a gadget and make it better segment, just unfortunate that a classic like the failed Sinclair C5 was involved as you really can’t do much with that death trap.
First off more speed, Rip out the batteries and the engine and replace with a 2 stroke. Top speed hits 40mph. Next there’s a vauge segment where different wheels are fitted but before we get to see the results..
Another reminder about the competition worth up to 30k
Teaser, what happens to a juicer when it’s blown up. (hmmm) The answer is, well it doesn’t get blown to bits and still works.
On the blowing up segment you start to wonder if it;s the same production crew as braniac. How blowing stuff up contributes to the show and the strong start is rapidly diminishing. The show is either establishing a feeling to segments of the show or it’s not sure what focus to follow so adopting the “throw it and see what sticks” approach. Remember it’s the first episode so benefit of doubt given yet shows like this rarely change tact as we go along.
Back from the break and a very brief demonstration of the latest in pen technology featuring the Live Scribe Echo and the Wacom Inkling. Distinct feeling this was a time filler and more a technical demonstration / presentation that an review. Product placement perhaps still I can’t belive that the pen to screen feature was overlooked so badly. I’d like to have seen if the writing is converted into text via ocr or another method.
Sinclair C5 time and the reveal is the unstable battery powered C5 is now a monstrous petrol powered, still unstable monster truck.
Not bad, not bad at all, not brilliant and mind blowing but not bad at all. With this being only the first show it’s a struggle to get a feel or flow for the program yet credit where it’s due for perhaps trying to fit 3 formats into 1 show.
Apple desktops were clearly shown in the program yet in the 2nd segment Old dell machines clearly had their badges covered.